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Blue Summit community hopes delays are over in halfway house project

Halfway House.jpg
Posted at 5:23 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 18:23:38-05

BLUE SUMMIT, Mo. — The Stark School building once stood as a pillar of the Blue Summit Community.

Plans revealed last year to turn the building into federal halfway house could have given the building a new life.

But a year later, there's been no action on the building.

The Jackson County legislature approved zoning in March 2019 that cleared the way for the proposal.

The project called for crews to clean up the building and prepare it to house up to 130 white collar federal inmates who were making the transition from prison to the outside world.

Inter City Fire Chief Jeff Jewell says the hold up comes from delays at the Department of Justice in reviewing the project. 41 Action News reached out to the DOJ for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

Though the project was initially met with outrage over the thought of federal inmates in town, Jewell believes the extra tax revenues will ultimately help the community.

"It’s a pillar when you drive though Blue Summit; that’s one of the main things you see," Jewell said. "Just by having that cleaned up, it is going to be important."

Those who live next door to the school are tired of seeing the mess.

"They need to shut it down and tear it down,” Cindy Humphreys said. "Homeless people go in there and smoke drugs and go in there and sleep.”

The school was once a towering symbol of strength in this community, but now it’s scarred with windows and tattooed with graffiti.

"We don’t need that kind of stuff in this area,” Humphreys said.

Construction on the project could start as soon as August, though officials did not provide an exact timeline.